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In recent years, many people have become comfortable discussing their personal life events in the semi-public arena of social media. Most of us do not think twice about commenting about a work event on Facebook, Twitter, or other social forums. Unfortunately, most people don’t always consider the impact of discussing private or work related issues on social media.
In the case of an injury at work, social media can become a significant liability if a person needs to make a workers’ comp claim. Employers may use any information you post to try to deny your claim, even if it does not pertain to your workplace injury. For instance, if you claimed an injury then post about ice skating the next day, the defendant may use it against you. Protect your rights by learning the ways employers and insurance companies can use social media information against you.
In some instances, social media can actually help a workers’ compensation claim by verifying the details of your situation. For example, some insurance investigators may use Facebook profiles or similar social media information to corroborate elements of the situation, such as confirming a timeline of the injury, the details of the incident, or verifying the person’s disability status.
Unfortunately, it has also become common practice for employers to review a worker’s social media accounts to look for evidence that could be used to deny a workers’ comp claim. Common tactics may include reviewing the times and locations of photographs that are at odds with the employees claim of injury or disability or the purported timeline of events.
There have been several notable instances in which workers’ comp claims were denied because photographs or other social media posts indicated that the supposedly disabled person was engaging in activities that would be impossible to perform with a disability. One prominent case involved a package handler who, despite an alleged injury, posted his bowling scores on social media. This aroused the insurance company’s suspicions. They proceeded to investigate the employee and eventually took him to court.
It may seem as though social media should not be considered admissible evidence for legal proceedings. This is not the case, however. According to the American Bar Association, evidence gathered through social media is more or less the same as evidence gathered by any other means. While the court may consider the relevance of this evidence to the case and the details of its collection, the fact that it came through social media does not negate its legal viability.
In fact, many lawyers now consider social media to be a primary source of information. The court may use social media posts to examine a person’s character, even if the posts are not recent. Because anything posted on social media technically belongs to the social media outlet, anything may be considered public information, even if a user has his or her account set to private.
If your workers’ compensation claim is denied on the basis of a social media post or for other reasons, you still have options. Obtain legal counsel immediately. Look for a firm that has proven experience resolving workers’ compensation claims to get the best help for your situation. Additionally, ensure your choice of attorney understands the complex implications of the new digital age.
Attorneys at DiMarco Araujo Montevideo have more than 30 years of experience in workers’ comp law. Contact us today for a free consultation, or call us at (714) 783-2205. We are available 24/7 and ready to help you get the settlement you deserve.